Friday, October 7, 2011

Coo Coo for Koekkoek

The matchup was supposed to be New York Ranger prospects JT Miller of the Plymouth Whalers (2011 1st) going against Andrew Yogan (2010 3rd) and Peter Ceresnak (2011 6th) of the Peterborough Petes. It wound up being a goalie pulling a Eddie Giacomin and a defenseman with a silly name that stole the show.

On name alone Slater Koekkoek (say it Kuh-Kook) is going to get people's attention but this 6'2 208 defenseman is a player. Smooth skating with a shot that just kicks butt Koekkoek stole the show in our book playing the kind of 2 way game you want to see from a defenseman.

We can honestly say here is a top 10 pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft which is saying a lot because the 2012 draft is already looking very good with a ton of very good defensemen.  Against the Whalers, it seemed like every time there was a big play at either end; it was Koekkoek who's name was said.

People have been telling us about Koekkoek as already the 2012 mock drafts have him listed in the middle of the first round but rising with a bullet. This mock draft has him going to the Rangers and at first glance it would be hard to say no if this became a option.

Koekkoek had a goal and was a +2 for the game as he helped to keep JT Miller and his linemates in check. Miller did not play a bad game as he found space, he skated well and he had his chances but the Petes had a good defense and a red hot goalie (Andrew D'Agostini 2 GAA in 3 games) to stop him.

We thought Miller had a goal in the 3rd period but video review said it did not go in but overall Miller is earning brownie points with each game.

Peter Ceresnak surprised us as our first look at him at Traverse City was of a slow footed, slow reacting defender. Not the case tonight as the 6'3 defender showed us an improved stride but also a shot that had something on it.

Twice Ceresnak sent someone limping off after they tried to block his shot as that too was a surprise given his "light" shot we saw at Traverse City. Ceresnak earned his first OHL assist (secondary on the Pete's 2nd goal) and was a +2 for the night.

Clearly still a work in progress, Ceresnak is a much improved player since Traverse City.  Winning though does make learning a lot easier to do of course.

The 3rd member of the game Andrew Yogan had an assist for his 3rd point (secondary on the Petes 3rd goal) on the season but what opened our eyes was seeing Yogan getting into a fight. Yogan has fought in the past but after missing just about all of last season with a bad shoulder; we had to wonder how physical Yogan would be.

We got the answer as while it was not a top level enforcer but Yogan held his own despite taking several punches (Yogan changed fight with 1 right hand). Got to admit that we are kind of scratching our heads still over the call as Yogan got a double minor for roughing, a minor for instigating, 5 for fighting and a game misconduct.

Not sure how you can give a double minor for roughing when you are also called for fighting, the replays were not there because of the Canadian election results so got to be honest here and say we are still going "huh?" on this call.

It is not roughing when both players are trading punches, it is fighting plain and simple. Even if Yogan did instigate the fight then he does not get the game misconduct unless you (and some Plymouth folks felt this way) wanted to call Yogan for slewfooting (maybe it was close) but was not 100% sure.

In any event we do not fault Yogan for the ejection, would like to have seen him going up at Miller more as a good test for both prospects (teams only meet twice this season). Peterborough is now 4-0-1-1 good for the lead in the OHL's East Division and 3rd best in the OHL.

Plymouth falls to 2-3 on the season with now their 2nd straight loss but goalies were the difference here.  Peterborough's was excellent but Plymouth's was weak.

Mitchell Theoret (Islanders 2011 7th) and his Niagara IceDogs discovered the hard way why the London Knights are the new number 1 team in the weekly BMO CHL Mastercard Top 10.

The Knights jumped out to a 4-0 in the game's first 12 minutes (2 in 1st 3:18), were able to withstand a 3 goal 2nd period from the IceDogs and tacked on 3 more goals for a 7-3 win.

7 goals from 7 different players and points from 12 different players as London improved to 5-0 on the season.  The only flaws in the game for London was their penalty kill was 3 for 6 otherwise Niagara might not have scored at all.

Theoret was scoreless but really everything that Niagara tried, the Knights had an answer for. If you want to see something impressive then look at London's stat sheet.  Every single skater on the Knights has a + number on the season not a single player who is minus.

This is a scary good team that is just going to get better as the season rolls on.

Speaking of that CHL Top 10, it was a good week to be a Ranger prospect as Baie-Comeau (Sam Noreau) were ranked 2nd, Kelowna (Shane McColgan) are 9th. Moose Jaw (McIlrath) and Peterborough (Yogan, Ceresnak) both received votes.

Sorry Islander fans you guys may own the college polls but not the CHL polls.

Saturday Night

We normally try not to get ahead of ourselves but it is so hard when the 2011-2012 college hockey season starts with a huge possible matchup. 3rd ranked North Dakota with Islander 1st rounder Brock Nelson hosts their 15th annual Ice Breaker Tournament this weekend.

The Fighting Sioux will face Air Force in one opening round game after Chris Kreider leads his 5th ranked Boston College Eagles against Michigan State. The winners will face each other on Saturday night.

Barring upsets then former USA Hockey teammates Nelson and Kreider will be facing each other in what should be a great game.

If you have Direct TV then all four Ice Breaker Tournament games will be broadcast live on Fox College Sports Central, DirecTV (617 Friday, 623 Saturday). This is a way to get the college season going in a huge way.

(Koekkoek, Ceresnak and Theoret/OHL Images/Aaron Bell and Terry Wilson)

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